Cannes Lions

Seltzer Launch

MISCHIEF @ NO FIXED ADDRESS, New York / MILLER BRANDS / 2023

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BACKGROUND & CREATIVE CHALLENGE

This case is ultimately about reminding America just how great beer is. We did this in a way that led with Miller Genuine Draft, but was designed to drive positive results across the entire Miller family of beer brands. And the state of the beer business is...not great. Overall beer sales in the US have been in decline for over 10 years.

Broadly speaking, drinkers are switching from beer to spirits, wine and ready-made alcoholic beverages including cocktail mixes and hard seltzers which have experienced explosive growth over the past 2 years. To cope, beer companies launched hard seltzer line extensions of their biggest brands (Bud Light Seltzer anyone?) and have scrambled to ink partnership agreements to help them move beyond beer.

But what about beer? And not a triple-hopped, pumpkin-infused, barrel aged limited run craft beer. Just a beer beer? It felt like the entire alcohol industry and maybe all consumers had moved on from beer.

All of our learnings can be neatly summarized in the following insight:

America has forgotten how great beer is.

SOLUTION:

Miller wasn’t quite ready to accept this. They would not let America break up with beer. To firmly declare its stance as Unapologetically Beer, Miller announced it was launching a hard seltzer...into oblivion.

EXECUTION:

One big idea. Three simple steps:

Step 1: A tweet. From Miller, announcing they were launching a seltzer too. It made people mad. It was supposed to.

Step 2: A 60 sec film. Starring MGD, and released across all Miller’s owned social channels. Twitter, Youtube, IG, Facebook. People were less mad when they realized Miller was launching a bunch of seltzers into space. The video gave people the exact time to tune-in and watch a live-stream of the big launch.

Step 3: Launch Event Live-stream. We pre-recorded a wonderfully ridiculous 8-minute launch video that felt live. 1,000,000+ people tuned in.

This campaign was delivered entirely and exclusively through social channels.

Why? Two main rationale points:

Rationale #1: It was efficient. We needed to reach a younger target (21-34). They are online, on social media, all the time. If your idea doesn’t reach this audience in social, you may never reach them. Unapologetically Beer was built for social. The idea leveraged an existing social conversation around “there’s just way way too many freaking hard seltzers” to create content entertaining enough to grab attention and topical enough to drive engagement.

Rationale #2: We needed to drive engagement and PR. The goal was to create an idea people could participate in, and that the press would cover. Engagement = social. It’s fundamental to creating active vs. passive ideas. The press also understands the power of unique ideas. Journalists are storytellers, and marketing that uses social in interesting ways makes for a more compelling PR pitch.

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2022, MILLER BRANDS

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